Wednesday, 28 July 2010

VC Eendracht Aalst 2002 (Belgium)

Now here's another one of those clubs that play in black and white stripes - but not entirely as you might imagine. Eendracht Aalst are the historic successors to a team called K.S.C. Eendracht Aalst, from the Flanders town of Aalst, who went out of business in 2002. They play at the same ground to the same fans, so in effect are the same club in all but name. They used to be top flight regulars, but after their bankruptcy were required to start all over again in the third tier, and since then have frequently bounced up and down between there and the second division.

The original club formed in 1919, by veterans of the First World War. Their most notorious year though was in the 1961/62 season when part way though a niggly game against Standard Liege resulted in an on-the- pitch punch up between players - which led in turn to a full-scale riot that resulted in the game being abandoned. The club were forced to play some games behind closed doors, many players were suspended for many games, and the club's physical coach was banned from operating for 12 months. The club never recovered and finished bottom that season - taking them another 29 years to get back to the top flight. Has one mad game ever led to such a long-term downfall?

However, by the 1990s they recovered to such an extent that a fourth- place finish in the premier league led them to a small foray into Europe in 1995, where after beating Levski Sofia in the first round they got battered by Roma in the next. Their only other laurels have been two second division championship titles.

They play at the 7000 capacity Pierre Cornelisstadion, and go by the lovely nickname De Ajuinen - Dutch for The Onions. This carries through to their rather unlikely mascot, who appears to be a massive stripy black and white clove of garlic. As far as their strip goes, although frequently flirting with a more traditional striped kit, they currently play in a strange kit with two bold stripes down one side - although we're quite sure that this is only a temporary measure and they'll try out every possible configuration of the famous kit in the future.

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